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Are Security Guards Reliable in Latin America?

Published August 6, 2021 in Health & Safety - 0 Comments

Currently living in Mexico City by Copilco Metro area, I happen to have an apartment in some big building area that has a bar, plenty of apartments, a few restaurants, etc.

Anyhow, the main entrance to the building for the apartments is always open during the day and afternoon until around 11 PM more or less.

At that point, the security guard that we have will grab the gate thing and pull it down to close off anyone from entering during the late hours.

Of course, if I ever want to leave the building to get a quick bite to eat, the guy usually is awake to get up to open it.

Though, to be fair, I don’t need him to open it either.

The gate door thing actually doesn’t seem capable of being locked.

You simply push it up if you want to open it.

Of course, that makes noise that would, in theory, alert the security guard that someone has come into the building late at night.

Still, it doesn’t seem like any of the security guards that are rotated throughout the week even pay attention to the door or who enters necessarily.

For example, as I wrote here, I ended up having to start sneaking women into my apartment because, after one too many chicks, they figured that they’d try to charge me 5 bucks per woman that comes in after 11 PM.

So now I simply walk in first and whichever chick walks in after me separately as if we aren’t coming in together.

And the security guard never stops them or asks any questions.

Always gets in without having to pay anything.

On another occasion, I remember recently having to exit the building late at night to get some tacos not too long ago.

It was probably around 1 AM more or less when I left and this taco place is only some odd feet away from the building.

By the time I had got downstairs, I noticed that the security guard was nowhere to be seen.

So I opened the gate thing myself easily enough by pushing it up with all the noise it makes when you adjust it…

And, when I got back, I noticed that the gate thing was still open.

After closing it again, I did hear some snoring in the room behind where the security guard normally is.

From what I know, they’re not technically supposed to be sleeping when they have a shift during the night.

They almost never do and I would know since it hasn’t been uncommon for me to leave late at night for some quick tacos.

And, as you know, the gate can be opened easily.

So I opened it and closed it easily without the sound awaking him.

Now, thankfully, there is a second door that is always locked that you have to open to get into the common area where my group of apartments is located.

And, of course, there’s another door to open to get to my apartment specifically.

So it’s not really a big cause of concern.

Though, funny enough, I did notice, a few months ago, some random homeless person chilling in the large space a floor below my floor when I was exiting the building at night.

A chick named Ale had showed up to the building waiting outside and that’s when I noticed the little guy just chilling on the ground.

So I told the security guard and he seemed confused.

Almost like he didn’t believe me.

Well, he believed me quickly enough.

I didn’t bother with it anymore as he went to check and I went to bring Ale in secretly like I said.

While this security guard is wondering how a homeless dude snuck in, I’m sneaking in random chicks.

And the random chick got under his nose also!

Still, none of the security guards are actually jerks or seemingly mischievous.

There is one that is very socially awkward but nice (the one who didn’t catch the homeless guy).

There’s another who seems very easy to sneak around because he’s on the phone and is the worst at checking who is walking up the stairs it seems.

Then there’s another who is very nice, not awkward and cool to talk with.

But, being honest, none of them are folks that I would trust to stop someone from stealing shit.

Well, maybe at night because, to be fair, they’re not usually sleeping on the job during late hours.

So you would think the opening of the gate would normally be noticeable then?

Still, during normal hours, I could just as well see someone sneak past them, find an unlocked door, grab some shit and walk out.

Thankfully, it’s not really an issue I worry about because there’s two more doors that keep any suspicious folks from coming right in.

And the neighbors seem better than me at making sure they are always locked.

The Topic of Security Guards in LATAM

On top of that, I almost never have security guards in Latin America!

This is the first time I’ve had one in almost forever.

I could be wrong but I think the last time I ever had a security guard was in Colombia.

Which was maybe 6 or so years ago.

And, in any of the apartments I’ve had since then, never have I had anyone break in and steal my shit.

That’s a topic all around anyhow – security guards in Latin America.

Among talking with other gringos, it does seem that it’s not uncommon for other gringos to be insistent on having a security guard.

It’s been my impression that some gringos are too chicken shit to live without them down here.

Where they think that, without one, they will absolutely get stolen from soon enough!

Personally, I almost prefer not to have a security guard down here.

My preferred living situation, if I could pick, would perhaps be a huge building that had numerous apartments all over the place without a security guard at the door.

So, if someone did break in, they’re not likely to randomly pick my apartment to break into, right?

I don’t know – just a theory.

You’d think, on limited time, they’d pick just one or two and ditch with whatever they get.

Still, some might not like that idea given the complaints that could come with a larger building…

Like more noise complaints from neighbors playing music or something else.

Eh, whatever.

Still, I prefer almost to not have a security guard regardless because I don’t feel so insecure about someone breaking in and also because some can be a pain in the ass for bringing multiple chicks past.

Granted, some guys recommend you try to be very nice to the security guard so that he’s not a dick about it.

Like offer him a slice of pizza or a beer occasionally.

Sure, I could see that working.

Anyhow, I just don’t feel insecure about some random person breaking in to steal my shit when I’m away from my apartment.

Could it happen? Absolutely!

Still, I generally prefer not having a security guard in Latin America.

Because of the reasons above (being used to not having one and the whole dating complication)…

But also because, as we’ll get to, they aren’t always the most reliable people for your security either.

In my case, it’s been, as of recently, a seeming incompetence at stopping complete strangers and a homeless person from walking right in.

Or sleeping on the job.

In other cases, having a security guard could, in theory, actually pose a greater risk to you specifically as other gringos have mentioned.

Let’s get to some examples.

Stuff Stolen in Barranquilla?

The first example to bring up is one in which I’m not entirely confident if the security guard had anything to do with it…

Still, let’s bring it up.

I might’ve (and feel like) mentioned this before on my website.

But the basic story is this…

When I was living in the Colombian city of Barranquilla, I had a “security guard” at the door.

Now, to be fair, the “security guard” was more of a front desk woman who did not look like a real security guard.

No weapons and definitely not prepared to fight someone.

Still, the “security guard” was this woman who would check people in at the front desk and always keep the gate shut.

OK, so not a real security guard but kinda in that she at least kept the gate shut and watched it.

Anyhow, there was one woman in particular running the gate at times that didn’t seem the most trustworthy….

Now, in my experience, I never got robbed at this place.

But the story is that some random Colombian dude showed up at around the time that the Barranquilla Festival happens…

Which is one of the biggest festivals in Latin America that I visited that you can see photos of mine here

In which he basically accused the staff of stealing some of his shit while he was outside of the apartment.

Now, realistically speaking, you would think it was the staff.

One of the front desk ladies or something.

Because, by how the gate was set up, nobody was getting over it.

And the building inside was fairly small so anyone working there would notice a stranger for sure.

Anyhow, that’s the first example I remember of the “security guard” or the front desk person anyhow not doing their job and quite possibly being involved in a theft.

But let’s get to a better example online.

Jeffrey Robbed in Guatemala

Next up, we have a story of a guy named Jeffrey that I met while in Guatemala many years ago.

As you can read here, he was basically a sex tourist in the city of Xela who was much on the older side.

We met as we both frequented the same café and happened to occupy the same couch area of the café in Xela.

Anyhow, Jeffrey was another American guy who often had stories about his time in the navy and “Intelligence” as he put it.

Was he full of shit about working for an alphabet agency? Who knows.

But he had interesting stories.

One of which involved getting robbed in Guatemala City when he was new to the country.

Basically, Jeffrey was spending a short time in some apartment after having just left the US to live down here.

And some guy he knew about was set to meet up with him for some drinks.

Anyhow, they both decided to get some beer at whatever bar.

When they got back, he found some of his more expensive shit gone.

Mostly electronics and all.

Somehow, the thief got past the security guard at the door, got inside their apartment and took a bunch of shit without anyone noticing anything.

Now, to be fair, I only have a theory as to what happened here.

Jeffrey didn’t have any evidence obviously but did believe that it must’ve been the security guard or someone with inside access to the building.

Over the years of living down here, like I said, I’ve grown to have my own theory.

Time and time again, I have heard of this type of scam once in a blue moon where the security guard of an apartment building might be involved in stealing from the people living there.

The idea is that the security guard obviously has some idea as to when you are leaving and exiting the building.

When you leave, he notifies some criminal he is working with to come to the building now.

Then the criminal walks in with the security guard opening the door and gets access to your room somehow.

Walks out with some shit and the security guard gets a bit of the profit.

I’ve heard this scam from a few other folks in real life and also from stories I’ve read online before…

Since I don’t have any personal experience with this, I can’t vouch for it 100%.

But it doesn’t surprise me and is something that apparently does happen to multiple people.

Here’s another story from something I found online for those curious.

Robbed in Colombia

Next, we have this article I found online here.

In which this foreign couple shows up to the capital of Colombia, Bogota.

They started living in some apartment building that happened to have a security guard and where their phone was stolen from inside their apartment.

They flew into Colombia for some work from my understanding and left their apartment one day.

When they got back, they noticed the phone that belonged to the girl was gone.

After looking everywhere, they used Find My Phone to find it but discovered that the phone was turned off.

Anyway, they asked the security guard, whose name is Jose, about what they can do.

He tells them that they can’t do anything now but they have cameras to check on later.

Then the other security guard, whose name is Carl, seemed suspicious to the couple initially.

To keep it short, they ultimately fight a long hill battle to get the camera footage but do get access eventually.

And, though the camera doesn’t show any specific person walking away with a phone in hand, they determine quickly enough that it was Carl who stole it.

In their efforts to get the footage anyhow, they were lied to and faced general difficulty getting the footage and with the administrator.

But did get it anyhow.

At any rate, they had a meeting with Carl about it.

Then, afterwards, they had a meeting with the administration in which the administrator claimed that the phone was found in the bins.

So the phone was returned!

Now, keep in mind, the article cited here did have photos to try to verify that this all happened.

I was actually in disbelief that they managed to get the phone back.

And, given the difficulty with the administrator, it almost makes me belief that it wasn’t just Carl that was involved but the administrator also.

Which, to be honest, wouldn’t surprise me either given some of the fucked up stories I have heard about certain apartment owners in Mexico City that are published often.

Similarly, in Colombia, I’m sure they got some fucked up folks running apartments down there also.

Still, they got the phone back surprisingly and that was it.

Security Guard Issues in the DR

Next, we have this interesting website here called Nomadic Hustle.

It has some cool stories on life in Latin America so I recommend it to folks reading this now.

Anyhow, the author, whose name is Jake, was spending time in the Dominican Republic.

From the story, he was basically in different cities around the country.

Before stopping by at a beach area by some spot called Las Terrenas.

He calls it a “paradise” and “one of the prettier beaches in Latin America.”

Never heard of it myself – will definitely have to check out whenever I’m back there.

Anyhow, Jake basically has a good time in the area with some friends and that’s it.

Then, while at his apartment with a friend, they hear a knock on the door.

To which someone from behind the doors says in English with a local accent “you smoke weed?”

And they don’t know who it is obviously.

Wondering if it might be some French neighbor that was in the area…

They open the door but find it was someone else.

The person was actually some small, ugly chick that was all fucked up looking that ended up begging for the weed they had.

At any rate, his friends started asking her questions to basically know who the fuck is she.

And she admits to stalking them and all that in which the security guard at the door figured to just let her in on the assumption that she knew them.

Anyhow, the chick started offering sex for some weed but they kicked her out.

Afterwards, they grilled the doorman.

In his defense, the security guard assumed that she was just a whore for them because you supposedly have a lot of foreign men hanging with prostitutes in this area.

Now, in his case, maybe the dude legit thought that she was just a whore for them and that’s why he let her in.

However, as I said before, it’s not too uncommon to hear stories of the security guard working with folks to steal from people living in any building.

In fact, the article here that is being summarized mentioned just that idea in the end.

So drugged out goblin looking to exchange pussy for weed or someone looking to steal shit?

Why not both?

Who knows.

But that’s the story.

Let’s wrap this up on a more deadly story that involves someone getting murdered.

Murder in Costa Rica

Finally, we have a story ran on another expat blog called Expat Chronicles as you can see here.

Another blog that I occasionally cite as being a good source for those curious about life in Latin America.

So the story is dated back to 2014 and involves a Canadian dude named Brad Deering who spent 8 years in Costa Rica.

The basics of the story is this…

First, Brad Deering was known to basically scam people whenever he could supposedly.

And he lived a very lavish lifestyle with the money that he swindled in which that lifestyle was very evident in both public and on social media.

Ultimately, the idea is that some person he fucked over had it and hired some folks to kill him.

Consequently, these same folks showed up to the community where Brad was living and managed to convince the guard that they were security personnel who had to fix the alarm system.

Then, once they were let in, they tied the guard up, invaded Brad’s home, tied everyone up but Brad managed to escape running naked for a brief period.

While running, one of the neighbors mistook him for a thief and told one of the invaders where he was thinking that the invader was a security guard.

And ultimately Brad was unable to escape because some fence was blocking him off and one of the assassins found him.

Finally, Brad was shot to death four times and that was it.

Final Thoughts

Honestly, I’m sure that security guards do provide more security on average than those without them.

Still, you have to recognize that they aren’t really going to make you as secure as you might think in my opinion.

Some gringos I have met down here really do think that the security guards down here do a whole lot extra.

In my opinion, they are good for keeping out the homeless (well, not always in my experience) and any normal folks looking to rob shit (OK, not always here either).

Still, I guess, in theory, they are maybe better than nothing?

On the other hand, I can see some security guard, recognizing you are a foreigner, seeing you as an easy target to steal shit from.

Personally, I just don’t like them.

I’ll concede anyhow that, on average, they probably do make you safer than folks without them.

Let’s not be too paranoid here – many do a decent job for sure and don’t carry bad intentions.

The security guards I got now?

I don’t think they would necessarily fuck me over.

I just think they are incompetent and are a very weak defense in stopping anyone from stealing from me.

But not malicious.

Still, you also have to consider the relatively low salaries some of these folks also get from what I’ve heard.

When salaries are low for your security guard, I imagine that the administration is hiring the lower skilled folks.

Versus a higher class building that maybe hires more professional folks for better wages who can better protect you and are less motivated to steal from you.

Granted, in the last story mentioned, I guess that wasn’t very helpful because, according to the story, it sure sounded like he lived in a nice community.

Still, I don’t want to sound paranoid here and discourage anyone from living in a place with a security guard.

I do think though that some gringos live with a false sense of security by having one.

Maybe it helps them sleep at night – fair enough.

For me personally, I find them to be more of a slight annoyance.

Be it when one is judgmental or nosy in the amount of women you bringing back…

Or the fact that I prefer to live “under the radar” in that I prefer to have less people know I live down here.

Generally, I like some degree of anonymity.

Which sounds ironic given I lay my life story out on this blog anyhow.

Still, I don’t want an extra soul down here knowing where I live and who I am.

Just how I am.

Regardless, that’s all I got to say.

The broader message being to not be so naïve that your security guard or doorman is necessarily going to keep you safe at night down here in Latin America.

Got any comments?

Drop them below in the comment section.

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Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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